Gransnet forums


New member question

(51 Posts)
Armadillo Tue 22-Dec-20 12:22:22


I'm trying to heal from my mum being abusive but I have a question I just can't answer. It's the question that keeps making me doubt myself and think that maybe I'm crazy.
Why did my other family allow her to abuse me? Why didn't they stick up for me? They know everything I'm saying is true because they were there for a lot of it but they either play it down and say I am too sensitive or tell me it didn't happen. Why do they lie about it?
My family won't talk to me unless I forgive mum but why then do I need to forgive her if it's me being out of order?
If my family had stood up for me my mum wouldn't have been able to abuse me in the first place. Why would people side with an abuser over their own daughter/sister?
I just don't understand it, I just wanted her to stop certain behaviours or I couldn't have relationship with her and when she wouldn't stop and got worse, I had no choice but to walk away.
Why do people allow abuse? Surely if they didn't there wouldn't be any?

Tangerine Tue 22-Dec-20 12:25:33

In some cases, it might be that they are glad the abuser is not picking on them. It is easier to let the abuser abuse someone else.

Sometimes, people can't face up to things like that happening and want to brush it under the carpet in later years.

I am not saying these courses of action are correct but I do think it is what happens.

Lolo81 Tue 22-Dec-20 12:41:43

The things your mum did to you were “normal” for your family, that’s not to say they were actually a normal healthy way to act, but if it was ongoing then that was the accepted level of behaviour in your family. You should be so proud of yourself for making the decision not to accept this.
The others in your family have spend their lives catering to this behaviour and probably don’t know any different - that’s not to make excuses for them in any way, but they’ve learned how to deal with the volatility and to accept the abuse because “that’s just how she is”.
Stick to your guns and seek support elsewhere. These people have shown you who they are, now it’s up to you to accept that and live your life free from abuse.

Smileless2012 Tue 22-Dec-20 13:07:04

Unfortunately it's not unusual Armadilo there was an EAC here on GN with a similar story.

It depends I think on what form the abuse took. Of course emotional abuse is just as destructive as physical abuse but for some reason, those who witness emotional abuse don't always see it for what it is.

Both Tangerine and Lolo have made some good points. The relief of not being the victim can override the desire to protect the one who is being abused. This is very common with siblings who can sometimes be manipulated into assisting with the abuse, which 'protects' them from the abusive parent.

If your mother was treated the same by one or both of her parents, as Lolo has said she, they and other family members may have considered it 'normal' behaviour.

You've had the courage to walk away and now you must look forward to a better life with those who value you and love you.

Armadillo Tue 22-Dec-20 15:29:39

Lately I have been feeling very lonely with no support.

Ironflower Tue 22-Dec-20 19:30:04

Your family knows that your mum will never apologise or change ("that's just the way they are"). They know that the only way for the family to be together is to pressure you to ignore it (you're the weak spot). When there's an abusive family member frequently the rest of the family have to cater to every whim and need of that member or face their wrath themselves (there's a dynamic called orbiting spouse).

My dad was very abusive. My mum will lie and excuse everything he does. She knows how abusive he is and at some points she has cried about how horrible he is. It won't stop her denying everything he does. If he doesn't feel like she has his back 100% then she will suffer too.

Smileless2012 Wed 23-Dec-20 13:51:36

I've not come across the term 'orbiting souse' before Ironflower so googled it and it unfortunately describes our ES.

Armadillo Sat 26-Dec-20 14:13:51

I talked to mum over Christmas. It didn't go well. She said we need to leave the past in the past which is fine but she would need to change her behaviour. She turned extremely nasty and said she doesn't want a relationship with me.
I only talk about past problems because otherwise she wouldn't know what she does that hurts to stop in future, not to hold a grudge.
So nothing has changed really.

Hithere Sat 26-Dec-20 14:43:38

Google crab pot mentality

Hithere Sat 26-Dec-20 14:49:26


So sorry you are going through this

You tried your best - talking to a person like your mom never works.

We are here if you need us.

Smileless2012 Sat 26-Dec-20 15:01:37

Armadillo has your mum ever said she doesn't want a relationship with you before? Have you talked to her about problems in the past before?

It's awful when someone you love says they want nothing to do with you, even if you know that by not having a relationship means you'll be protected from their abusive behaviour.

What really matters is that whether it was what you wanted or not, not having contact will free you from their abuse.

For me, those who say that the past should be left in the past are unable to face the reality of that past and the part that they have played.

You don't say of you're married and/or have children of your own but even if you don't, there will be people who truly value you. Put your energy into those relationships.

Armadillo Sat 26-Dec-20 15:40:44

Here is what she said. She told me things about her parents and what she described is abuse and I said that their behaviour was toxic and that she was continuing that behaviour with me and that's why I had offered to get counselling together. It's very confusing when she blames her parents for her behaviour but defends them if I say that she does the same things to me that they did.
Its the first time she has said it but other people have warned me in the past that she has said it and that she will cut me off if I go back to her but I owe her an apology first. That's why I worry about trying to sort things out.

Hithere Sat 26-Dec-20 15:46:39

That message is awful

Cut her off. Today. Now.

She may want you to chase her "no mommy, please talk to me"
Wait for some time to see if she is going to contact you again

My own narc mother told me the same nonsense, especially:
When you are a mother you will understand
I tried my best

Smileless2012 Sat 26-Dec-20 16:39:38

I would just leave things as they are and not bother responding. You have a family of your own so concentrate on them.

Amelia247 Sat 26-Dec-20 17:09:54

Great advice from Smileless2012. Please, for your own sake, stay away from your mother. And please read up on why going to therapy with your abuser is never advised. It is one of the worst things you can do to yourself.

Armadillo Sun 27-Dec-20 15:06:51

Sometimes I just think that there must be a way to make things right again, if I can be different then maybe she can too but I think you are probably all right and I should cut her off for good. Just wish she could change.

Hithere Sun 27-Dec-20 15:13:31


Things were never ever right. She ABUSED you.

What is right anyway? To me, it is to be happy.

You need to get out of the fog

A leopard doesnt change his/her spots.

Lolo81 Sun 27-Dec-20 16:17:00

That whole email you’ve posted reads like the narcissists prayer - have put the prayer in brackets after bits from the email.

The stuff you wrote didn’t happen,
I wasn’t the best mum (if it did happen , it wasn’t that bad),
My parents weren’t toxic neither am I (and if it did happen it wasn’t a big deal),
You’ve made it toxic (and if it is, it isn’t my fault),
Your family loves you and misses you (and if it was, I didn’t mean it),
You’ve hurt me and poisoned with your hate (and if I did it, you deserved it)

How on earth are you supposed to keep up with these sorts of mental gymnastics? The learned behaviour she has exhibited towards you maybe isn’t her fault - if her parents were abusive then that’s been her normal - but until she acknowledges that and is willing to take accountability for hurting you rather than solely blaming you then your hands are tied OP.

She needs to want to make changes, and that email doesn’t sound like someone willing to make changes or self reflect. Please put your own mental health first OP and take care.

Armadillo Mon 28-Dec-20 21:38:04

This is what she is always like to me, even worse in person. That's why I can't understand why people believe and support her and just have a go at me all the time. Thank you for being so supportive.

Hithere Mon 28-Dec-20 22:12:13


My narc parents are dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, they know when the flip the switch.

I suspects your mother is too

Chewbacca Mon 28-Dec-20 22:24:24

This is what she is always like to me, even worse in person. That's why I can't understand why people believe and support her and just have a go at me all the time.

Armadillo if your mother is always like this, why keep giving her the opportunities to keep hurting you? In her email, she sounds quite unequivocal that, unless you apologise to her, she doesn't want any relationship with you. Take her at her word. Stop giving her opportunities to hurt you. Cut her off and concentrate entirely on your own nuclear family. They are your future. She was in your past.

Ironflower Tue 29-Dec-20 03:22:27


My mum has written many letters just like that. Denying everything that happened and how much they love you and did everything right. The thing is that it's a lie.

Please watch this video. It's on the alternate reality of narcissists. A look at why they just can't accept the reality of truth of events. I hope it helps.

Smileless2012 Tue 29-Dec-20 13:15:00

Good advice Chewbacca. It does appear Armadillo as if both you and your mother don't want to have contact with one another, that being the case I would leave things as they are and not contact her again.

Smileless2012 Tue 29-Dec-20 13:20:57

I'm not sure what the OP has said that indicates that her mother is a narcissist. It's difficult to comment on the mother's motivation behind the response, she made without knowing the content of the email she responded too.

I don't think it helps anyone, especially when little or no information has been given for example as to what form any abuse took, to make the assumption that someone is a narcissist.

Armadillo Tue 29-Dec-20 17:31:41

That video does describe the situation very well.
What I said in my email is that I needed her to change and apologise for all the things she said and did and I needed her to stop blaming other people for our relationship breaking down, it's something that happened between us. I did say her parents were toxic but that is what she was telling me, not the other way around. I think when I wouldn't let her blame her parents and said that she treated me the same then suddenly they were fine.
Everything I said did happen and she won't even meet me half way. I've never ever been cruel to her.
If I've done things that hurt her then I would of course apologise but the only thing she mentions is me not speaking to her and my boys not speaking to her but that's their choice and they are both over 16. Apart from that it's only that I am not as good as her friends children or I don't keep my home to her standards or I didn't do well enough in life, little things that are appearance not personality. I do my best.
It can't be cruel to stop speaking to someone who is hurting you.